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Report: Major League Baseball determines Red Sox illegally used technology to steal signs from the Yankees

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Michael S. Schmidt of the New York Times reports that, after an investigation, Major League Baseball has determined that the Red Sox illegally used an Apple Watch to steal signs from the Yankees.

The Red Sox hosted the Yankees in mid-August for a three-game set, winning two of the three games. Yankees GM Brian Cashman filed a complaint to the commissioner’s office using video of the Red Sox dugout which showed a trainer looking at his Apple Watch, then relaying a message to players. Presumably, this information allowed the hitters to know what pitch was coming.

When confronted by the commissioner’s office, the Red Sox admitted that trainers had been receiving signals from video replay personnel, which was then relayed to the players. It’s not known how long the Red Sox have been at it, but it’s been “at least several weeks,” according to Schmidt. The Red Sox contend that manager John Farrell, GM Dave Dombrowski, and other front office personnel were not aware of the operation.

In a bit of gamesmanship, the Red Sox filed a complaint of their own to the commissioner’s office, alleging that the Yankees use a YES Network camera exclusively to steal signs. The Red Sox also accused the Indians of stealing signs after Game 1 of the ALDS last year.

Stealing signs is not forbidden by the rulebook, but using technology to do so is. So the Red Sox are clearly at fault here and will likely face some sort of punishment. Schmidt did not speculate as to what that could be.

The Red Sox, who recently lost three of four games to the Yankees in New York, have a narrow 2.5-game lead over their rival in the AL East standings.

Report: Twins sign Erick Aybar to minor-league deal

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The Twins have reportedly signed free agent shortstop Erick Aybar to a minor-league deal,¬†LaVelle E. Neal III of the Star Tribune¬†reported Friday. FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman adds that the deal comes with a potential $1.25 million if Aybar reaches the majors, with additional incentives based on plate appearances. He’ll be able to opt out on March 27. The team has yet to confirm the signing.

Aybar, 34, is now four years removed from his career year in 2014. He’s been in a state of steady decline since then, slashing just .234/.300/.348 with seven home runs and 11 stolen bases over 370 plate appearances for the Padres in 2017. His poor performance wasn’t helped by a fractured left foot, either, which cost him almost six weeks on the disabled list.

Still, the Twins see something promising in the veteran infielder, and reportedly intend to use him as another utility option this spring. Per Neal, Aybar will join fellow backup infielders Eduardo Escobar and Ehire Adrianza and may even (temporarily) take over for Miguel Sano at third base if Sano isn’t able to shape up for the role by Opening Day.